Diacronia 3, February 12, 2016, art. A38 (p. 1–14)

Translation: between what can be translated and what must be translated

Magda Jeanrenaud


Faculty of Letters, “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University, Bd. Carol I 11, 700506 Iași, Romania


Received November 9, 2015
Accepted November 29, 2015
Published February 12, 2016

Key words

intentional fallacy
text poetics


Starting from a disconcerting interpretation of Jacques Derrida, our analysis aims at investigating and also tries to explain the blockage which appears in the English, French and Romanian translations (signed by Maurice de Gandillac, Antoine Berman, Laurent Lamy, Alexis Nouss, Harry Zohn, Steven Rendall, Martine Broda, Catrinel Pleșu etc.) of a well-known text of Walter Benjamin, Die Aufgabe des Übersetzers, when translators transpose in their target languages the two quotations given by Benjamin: one of Mallarmé, left untranslated in the source text, and another, signed by Pannwitz. The fact is that both quotations have something in common: a discoursive form which results from an unusual syntax, as if they were already, in a certain sense, „translations”. As if the translators feared—a feature of the translator’s psychology?—not to render their text sufficiently accessible, even when the source text is not intended to be accessible. Hence the painful dilemma of the intentional fallacy (not only of the text to be translated).


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    Text:Jeanrenaud, M. (2016). Translation: between what can be translated and what must be translated, Diacronia 3 (February 12), A38 (1–14),
     author = {Magda Jeanrenaud},
     title = {Translation: between what can be translated and what must be translated},
     journal = {Diacronia},
     ISSN = {2393-1140},
     year = {2016},
     month = {February},
     number = {3},
     eid = {A38},
     doi = {},
     pages = "(1–14)",
     url = {}


© 2016 The Authors. Publishing rights belong to the Journal. The article is freely accessible under the terms and conditions of the CC-BY Open Access licence.

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